Calhoun County unfortunately ranks 48th within the 55 counties in West Virginia, related to the well-being of children, according to the 2003 Kids Count report just issued.

While there is considerable improvement related to the availability of health care in the county, mostly linked to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center, many of the statistics show small improvements, some worse.

Most of the problems, according to Kids Count, are related to poor economic conditions, lack of jobs and other services.

Calhoun is highly under-served with mental health services.

The well-being of children in Calhoun improved in seven areas and deteriorated in four.

About 30% of Calhoun's kids are growing up in poor families, families at or below the poverty level. Even though welfare statistics say cash assistance to these families have declined by almost 40% from 1990 to 2001, most of these families would be hard pressed to provide basic needs.

Calhoun has a high percentage of children approved for free or reduced-price school meals - nearly 70% of all students, compared to 51% average statewide. The meals are provided to children based on low family income.

The Kids Count assessment shows a significant increase of 94% percent increase of low birth-weight babies between 1990-2001, and a 42% increase of births to unwed mothers (ages 10-19) during the same time period.

There is also an increase of 74% in the child death rate between 1990-2001.

There was a decrease in the juvenile delinquency rate.

About 20% of children are living in single-parented homes.

The percent of population of individuals under age 18 is decreasing, from 25.4% in 1997 to 21.7% in 2002.

The county population in 2001 was 7,431.

Significant improvements are indicated with prenatal care.

There was a 6% increase of births to mothers with less than a 12th grade education, between 1990 and 2001.

There was improvement between 1990 and 2001 - 3.5% less high school dropouts.

There was a 28% increase of children served by Head Start between 1990-2001.